The pros and cons of holding your child back before kindergarten
It’s a difficult decision for parents. If your child is born late in the year, do you send them through to kindergarten knowing they will be one of the youngest in the class? Or do you hold them back a year to mature?
The practice is called “redshirting,’ and to some it’s controversial.
In one kindergarten class at Coronado Elementary in Littleton, there are kids who started at age four, and kids who started at age six. In Jefferson County, kids who turn five years old by October first can start kindergarten that year. That means some kids with August and September birthdays will start at age 4. But many parents who have kids with those later birthdays are now deciding to hold their kids back, or redshirt them.
Michelle Korell’s son, Trevor, was born in September. She kept him and his older brother back based on a recommendation from their preschool director.
“That was her recommendation for boys especially,” she said. “That they wait a year just socially an academically.”
Michelle says the extra year made a big difference for both children.
“I think both my boys are thriving instead of struggling,” she said.
The Deweese family says the same thing about their twin sons, Avery and Everett.
“I think they have an internal kind of confidence and ‘settledness,’” said Beth Deweese. The couple decided they’d prefer their boys to be the older kids in the class, instead of the younger ones.
Many families are making the same decision, especially in areas where families can afford to pay or an extra year of preschool.
In Jefferson County, 6-percent of families hold their kids back.
Becky Feuerstein, Director of Early Childhood Education for the district, says she hears a lot of different concerns from parents.
“They say I think he’s small, and I think if I hold him out, he’ll be better at sports,” she said. Most parents, she says, just don’t want their kids to struggle.
While some parents may believe redshirting will give their kids an advantage, Feuerstein believes the research is pretty clear. She believes any advantage the older kids have in kindergarten is eventually lost.
“Even though you start a child when they are young, they catch up,” she said, adding that a level playing field usually develops around grades three and four. She admits boys learn differently than girls, but says parents should not make a decision based on gender alone.
On the other side of the issue, there are kids like Addilyn Hoffman who started kindergarten at age four.
“She’s in the right place. It’s a good fit for her,” said her mom, Erin Hoffman.
Erin says Addilyn was academically strong for her age and ready for school.
“I was concerned that if she didn’t come to kindergarten, by the time she did, she’d be so far ahead,” Erin said.
She believes if the children are ready to learn, then parents should send them.